CoCo Vandeweghe believes she has the game to win a Grand Slam - and that her new coach Pat Cash can help her achieve that.
Mark Hodgkinson

BIRMINGHAM, England - For all the shades of grey in this world, some things, like Pat Cash's chequered headbands, are in black and white.

Another of those is CoCo Vandeweghe's clear, bold, unshakeable belief she has the game to win a Grand Slam singles title. Significantly, that's a view she shares with her new coach, a certain Pat Cash, with this American-Australian alliance beginning just as tennis marks the 30-year anniversary of Cash scrambling up Wimbledon's Centre Court after winning the 1987 men's singles title.

"Fake it till you make it" was the advice that Vandeweghe's grandmother, a former Miss America, used to pass on. But you suspect that Vandeweghe's belief in her tennis is all very real now, with no faking required, and with Cash now on the scene there will be no backsliding or equivocating from the Californian. 

Pat Cash at Wimbledon in 2010 (Getty)
Pat Cash at Wimbledon in 2010 (Getty)

Already, Vandeweghe speaks of Cash's "energy and aura" and how he "leaves no stone unturned". If you go down to the practice courts, you will notice how Cash has been changing Vandeweghe's approach. Just count the number of balls she holds up when serving. That might seem like a small detail, but it tells you something. 

"More than anything with Pat, we've been working on my mindset going into matches and also practice, and practising how I'm going to play," Vandeweghe said at the Aegon Classic in Birmingham.

CoCo Vandeweghe (Getty)
CoCo Vandeweghe (Getty)

"Little things, a perfect example of which is that when I start serving on the practice court, I used to hold three balls in my hand and throw one up to hit. Pat says to me: 'Do you serve with three balls in your hand in a match?' And I say no. And he says: 'We practise how we play.' Holding three balls to practise my serves, that's just how I've done it for years. That's just habit. There are things you do and then someone tells you and you think, 'Oh, I never really thought about that'." 

Habits and traditions are sometimes there to be broken (before Cash, no Wimbledon champion had ever treated Centre Court as a climbing frame, and now almost everyone rushes up to embrace their friends, family and coaches). Cash's analysis is that Vandeweghe has the power to "wipe" opponents off the court. And in their short time together so far they have also been working on improving her serve. 

Could this summer's Wimbledon see Vandeweghe hugging her new coach in the stands after scoring the Venus Rosewater Dish?

"I've always believed that I can win a Grand Slam, and I've also believed I can be No.1 in the world, those have been my dreams since I started playing. To have a coach behind you that believes the same, that's great as it means that you have a coach who has the same drive and who wants to reach the same goals as you," said Vandeweghe, who was "intrigued" when she first heard that Cash might be available to coach her.  

"At the beginning, before we agreed to work together, he was asking me what I was looking for. And I was asking him what he wanted. When choosing a coach, I want to make sure that they are as motivated as I am, if not more."

Be in no doubt: Jelena Ostapenko's unexpected surge to the French Open title, glorious as it was, wasn't the moment when Vandeweghe first imagined she could herself break through with a maiden Grand Slam.

"What happened in Paris didn't inspire me more than I was already inspired, that's for sure. Ostapenko winning the French Open hasn't changed my mindset that I can win a slam. That was always how I thought." 

Clear, unmistakeable, in black and white.